It could only have happened in a country like ours, where the jungle and the streets are undivided from one another, and the fetid undergrowth of the earth is indistinguishable from the brown-clouded, smog-canopied sky. This nation, knocked together like a lean-to from the detritus of the ancient-extinguished empire by once poor nineteenth-century libertadores who strutted along as victors in high collars and brocade, could only have produced a Rogelio.read more...
Stephanie followed her boyfriend to Berlin in the fall of ‘65. The conversation went a little like this:
Stephanie, I’m moving back to Berlin. Come with me?
Why are you going back all of a sudden?
My grandmother is sick.
I thought you hated her.
Ja, I do. Will you come?
Yes, I will.
Head tucked between my outstretched arms, I dolphin-dive my way through the blue shallows of Lake Tahoe, one of the oldest lakes in the world, sitting 6,250 feet above sea level. On this ice-crusted September morning, the sun has not yet cleared the tree line in the Sierra Nevada.read more...
In 1974, my mother and Richard Nixon developed thrombosis. By that time, the old radio was broken, and she relied on a square transistor about the size of a jar. First Nixon resigned. My mother dialled into the news to hear his crackly yet smooth voice: “By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”read more...
They say that good cooks don’t measure anything, that they have an innate ability to know how much of each ingredient to use. They say that good cooks have signature dishes for which they’re renowned.
As a seven-year old, my criteria for culinary perfection was the ability to make macaroni and cheese and graham-cracker-white-icing sandwiches with so much icing it squeezed out the edges of the cracker when you bit into it. My mom made good macaroni and cheese and graham-cracker sandwiches. And fudge.read more...
Summer was Kate’s favorite season. The sun drew moisture from the air and sharpened her senses, so when a thunderstorm approached, she could smell rain before it fell. When the sun dropped below Rattlesnake Ridge across the lower Yakima Valley, their land on the opposite east slope held onto the heat and almost guaranteed that she and Hayden were able to grow bumper crops of fruit. They raised Bing cherries, Red Haven and Alberta peaches, and Tilden apricots and two kinds of apples all sold under Kate’s family name, Goode.read more...
Deborah found another bruise on her right leg. She didn’t know where they were coming from. She wasn’t prone to falling and bumping into things and her apartment was fairly sparse. Between her bedroom, the kitchen, and the living area, there was a twin bed, a dresser, a desk, a couch, and a short round kitchen table shoved underneath the bay window.read more...
We had never planned it that way. My ex-husband and I living together under the same roof for two years after our divorce. Well, at least, children aren’t involved, my family and friends lectured me, as if that would have lightened up the inevitable burden of living together.read more...
I wasn’t like anyone else in school, but I did this to myself. I liked to win things and get more praise from superiors than other people, was competitive and over-achieving, and was only kind enough to keep just a few friends by my side, which was the way I preferred it.read more...
“A jerk from the past.”
“What? Who is this?”
“I woke up this morning. And out loud, I said your name. It just came out! From nowhere! I haven’t spoken your name for sixty-eight years, so —”
“I’m about to hang up the phone. Take me off your list!”
“How can I help you?”
The librarian behind the reception counter was slightly younger than me, maybe in her mid-twenties.
“Something to read while I’m waiting for my car to get serviced, please.”
“Anything in particular?”
Piercing her sticky wad of clay, Margo felt a sense of revulsion at the naked male model straddling the large plywood platform, his legs splayed at what she considered to be an unnatural and almost lewd wide angle. His sloping forehead reminded her of an early man in a diorama she’d seen in the county natural history museum, a primitive subspecies that no longer existed.read more...
at night I can’t see the owl I hear
but a faint outline
of the sandbox on the porch
a playground for unwanted crickets
who nestle to the bottom
waiting to surprise me one summer day
Made my bones playing ledgeball on the block, but during college
no taxi’d drive back into the Southside snatch-‘n-grab boarded up
storefronts below Chicago’s elevated trains. Hertz’d have none of it;
A candle is lit,
Pink flesh melting smooth at first,
But as its silk ribbons
Cascade from its frozen bluffs,
It withers as its wick slowly
Bores deep into its heart.
declares the forgetting man
under the florescent lights
his face shadowless
in a shadowed world
that he knows where it is
once and for all
I found the answers
when the sky was
layered in pink, lavender,
and celestial blue.
I am a medicine woman
though my breasts have
never produced milk, and
my womb is barren.
I’m not bad seed.
Let me tell you something about the human
heart. It’s there
in the black paper cameo cutout shadow of a girl spinning a barrel hoop against
an almond wall by de Chirico. A nurse turns her back on
an amputated leg
waiting in motley for the orderly
to bring order.